Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Alternative Design Survey Request

Sound Transit and the Tacoma City Council are planning to dump hundreds of thousands of yards of dirt in the economic development area of the Dome District in downtown Tacoma. They will be doing this in an effort to create a large berm, which is effectively a large hill of dirt with the train tracks placed on top of the hill. We feel this is a mistake.

The space they are purposing for this is viable land that can be commercially developed. The reason for commercial development is to create jobs and to tax business and property. The employment in new businesses in the Dome Area will create buying power for Tacoma and all of Pierce County residents. This saves the residents from having their taxes increased due to a lack of commercial development. Sound Transit has closed a lot of businesses in Tacoma that have moved out of the city taking their money for taxes with them. Who will Tacoma and Pierce County turn to and recover the lost revenue? YOU. When bond issues come up they always feature a family home in the $200,000 price range and never mention the multi-million dollar commercial buildings that pay thousands of dollars in taxes. The businesses are what keeps the city going. Please help us to stop this purposeful destruction of commercial property development and our future tax base.

Please help us to stop this purposeful destruction of commercial property development. Please vote yes for Post and Beam Alternative in the our survey on the right side. The citizens of Tacoma need your help. We need 100,000 votes. Thank you for taking the time to let your voice be heard.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Alternative Design Concept and Cost Estimates

From: Tom Warren, PE, Warren Engineers, PLLC

Regarding: Design and Cost Analysis for Proposed Elevated Structure Concept for Sound Transit Rail

At the request of the DDDG, we have developed a preliminary alternative design concept for the Sound Transit Sounder Commuter Rail extension through the Dome District. The elevated structure (bridge) is based on current state-of-the-art technology used by the railroads. Currently, the alternative has been called “post and beam”, but is more accurately termed “bridge” or “flyover” in standard railroad nomenclature. The following photograph of the Kansas City Flyover (1) provides a visual representation of the basic bridge structure.

For our analysis, we assumed a total length of 1450’, consisting of 1350’ of bridge structure with supports at 32’ average intervals, and a separate bridge of 100’ span over Pacific Avenue. Our cost estimate for the 1350’ section is $13,683,000 ($10,140 per foot) and $4,500,000 for the Pacific Avenue Bridge for a total cost of $18,183,000 for the structures. This estimate is for the structures only, and does not consider design, permitting, utility relocation and installation, road crossing at grade work, traffic control, surveying, excavation of Pacific Avenue, nor inspection.

The basic design is the same as that used by Burlington Northern (BNSF) and Union Pacific (UP) railroads to build elevated structures or bridges around the continental United States. BNSF and UP have jointly developed these design standards. Canadian National uses the same methodology in Canada.

Here’s a link to the full report, cost estimates, pictures and drawings:
Full Report on Design and Cost Analysis

Sound Transit Bid Process
Alternative Design Bid Wording Request

December 3, 2009
The Honorable Mayor and City Councilmembers
City of Tacoma
747 Market Street
Tacoma, WA 98402-3766

Re: Alternative Design-Build Proposals
Sounder Train Extension, East C Street to South C Street (Part of D to M Extension)

Dear Mayor and City Councilmembers:

The Sounder Train Extension west from Freighthouse Square has been the focus of many discussions the past few years regarding route, budget, and design issues. The central point of contention has boiled down to a “berm” solution verses a “post and beam” solution from East C Street to South C Street. Granted some compromises have been incorporated in the “berm alternative”, however, the Dome District Association, along with many supporters from throughout the City, believes there may be a solution that will solve the group’s concerns while accomplishing the goals of the City and Sound Transit.

The requested process is an approach that is used extensively by the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) in many of their construction projects. This process would require:

1. adding the words “alternative design-build proposals will be accepted” to the bid specifications.

2. a clear delineation of the project criteria for decision making.

3. a modification to the bid evaluation process to include a step to assess the responsiveness to the project criteria of design-build proposals before the actual cost bid proposals are opened. (WSDOT has a simple application for this step.)

This proposal would:

1. not require a re-design by the Sound Transit project design team.

2. not extend the bidding and construction schedule.

3. likely save millions of dollars in construction cost.

4. maintain all of the design criteria of the project including rail alignment, grade, and connections.

5. give the opportunity for more competitive bid proposals for the bid package bids as well as any design-build proposals.

This approach may well give our City an acceptable solution for all parties while saving dollars and time for the project.

Please consider this approach and request Sound Transit to incorporate it into the bidding specifications.

Thank you.


Keith Stone
President, Dome District Association

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Alternative Design Process
Successful with Cheney Stadium

Here's an example of a success story that happened because Alternative Design was added to the bidding process. The approach gave our City an acceptable solution for all parties while saving dollars and time on a major project.

In the fall of 1959 the Cheney Stadium project was over budget and the goal of completing the project by the spring of 1960 in doubt. The City and County went out to re-bid of the over-budget wood structure with only the added “alternative proposals will be accepted.” Without any re-design required by the City and County, the bids received for an alternative precast concrete solution made the project possible within the budget available and the baseball stadium was completed for opening day that Spring. If the “alternative design-build proposal” had not been incorporated, the stadium would not have been completed within budget or on time and the possibility that Triple A baseball may never have arrived in Tacoma a distinct possibility.

Please consider this approach and request Sound Transit to incorporate it into the bidding specifications.